It’s time to talk about your parents’ aged care needs

A national provider of home care for older Australians has created a free resource for families to help them discover their ageing parents’ wants and needs for the future.

Called The 40-70 Rule, the guide is designed to help adult children have critical conversations with their parents about their future.

Chief Operating Officer of Home Instead Senior Care, Sarah Warner, said if adult children were in their 40s, their parents would typically be in their 70s, which was an age when it was important to know their preferences before they faced major health or ageing issues.

“Understanding your parents’ preferences, ensuring they are fully informed about their care options and supporting them to make informed decisions, is an important role for adult children,” Ms Warner said.

“Unfortunately, families often don’t have these conversations or plan ahead before ageing issues arise and they end up having to make decisions in a crisis or without understanding their parents’ wishes.

“That’s why we have created The 40-70 Rule guide - so adult children can feel at ease and comfortable talking to their parents.

“The conversation may be difficult to have, but the health and wellbeing of your loved ones in the long term will make it all worthwhile.”

Sarah’s top seven tips for having that conversation are:

1.         Get started

If you’re aged around 40 and your parents are around 70, it’s time to start talking with them about what the future looks like for them and your family. Everyone should have the chance to voice their concerns, observations, wants and needs. During this time, keep an open mind and allow yourself to see where every member is coming from without jumping to conclusions.

2.         Talk it out

To begin the process, discuss concerns and observations that may be concerning you and find out what other family members think. With everyone acknowledging these challenges, you’ll be able to discuss a range of solutions.

3.         Sooner is better

Talking sooner rather than later will help avoid a crisis. Be one step ahead and discuss concerns or worries before any problems occur.

4.         Respect

Put yourself in your parents’ shoes and think how you would like to be treated if the situation was reversed. It’s important to be respectful and remember you are talking to an adult, not a child. Belittling and patronising language will not benefit the situation.

5.         Maximise independence

Aim to move towards solutions that will ensure everyone in the family is living a healthy, happy and independent life. Allowing some home care or assistance can relieve a huge amount of worry and responsibility for adult children, as well as providing older adults support, help and companionship.

6.         Be aware of the whole situation

If one of your parents dies, the survivor can face a whole new world of loneliness and isolation. It’s important for seniors to make plans, talk to their family, and express how they’re feeling to help with the grieving process. Adult children can help ensure the remaining parent has contact with friends, activities inside and outside of home, and the opportunity to make new friends through social engagement.

7.         Ask for help

Many issues can be resolved by providing the support parents need to maintain their independence. A range of services are available that can be implemented immediately.

For more information, click here.

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